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Debevoise's leader steps down after hitting mandatory retirement age

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  • Michael Blair spent 11 years as presiding partner of New York-based law firm
  • Tax partner Peter Furci will assume Blair’s role on July 1

(Reuters – Debevoise & Plimpton said Monday that Peter Furci, co-chair of the firm’s tax department, will replace Michael Blair as leader of the New York-based firm, effective July 1.

Blair reached the firm’s mandatory retirement age for partners, which is 67, and will leave the firm at the end of 2022. He’s spent the past 11 years as Debevoise’s presiding partner.

Nicole Mesard, deputy chair of the firm’s corporate department, has been named deputy presiding partner of Debevoise, stepping in for Bruce Yannett, chair of the firm’s white collar and regulatory practice group, the firm said.

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Furci said enhancing the firm’s sense of community after the past two years of COVID-19 is paramount.

In March, Debevoise said that going forward, attorneys are to be in the office for at least three days out of the week, he said.

“If you really want to grow and develop and get the benefit of teaching and mentoring, those are things that are best done when we can sit shoulder-to-shoulder and brainstorm and foster idea creation and solve problems,” he said.

Under Blair’s leadership, the firm said it doubled its annual revenue and opened an office in San Francisco.

Furci said that he and Mesard are keeping an eye on the firm’s one-year-old San Francisco office and looking to acquire more growth fund, private equity and technology clients on both the corporate and litigation sides.

Furci’s practice is focused on guiding private equity and corporate clients on M&A transactions and investment fund formation. While he will continue to practice, he said he will be stepping down from his tax co-chair position.

Read more:

Debevoise opens in San Francisco as more New York firms launch Bay Area outposts

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Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on midsize law firms. Reach her at Chinekwu.osakwe@thomsonreuters.com.